Blueberries are small, round, sweet-tasting, and blue-black colored fruits. They contain vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and other essential nutrients for hamsters.
There are many edible blueberries, and five major species are grown in America. The most common one found on grocery store shelves is vaccinium corymbosum. It’s also known as the:
- Northern highbush blueberry or the highbush blueberry.
- Blue huckleberry.
- High blueberry.
- Swamp blueberry.
These are the most popular blueberries to feed hamsters, but other kinds are acceptable. Hamsters love the flavor, shape, and texture of this fruit.
Are Blueberries Good for Hamsters?
Blueberries are good treats for hamsters. When measured out as rewards or health-boosting snacks, a hamster can benefit from the following health advantages:
Low in Calories
Blueberries are nutrient-dense, containing many nutrients relative to their calories.
There are about 80 calories in 1 cup of blueberries. The low calories ensure that a hamster doesn’t risk gaining weight in exchange for nutrients.
A cup of blueberries contains 3.6 grams of fiber. This benefits a hamster’s metabolism and bowel movements since it contains soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is needed for better gut health, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to poop, making it easier to pass. This means that a hamster will experience fewer stomach upsets, even if it consumes something it shouldn’t, and the risk of constipation or diarrhea is reduced.
Hamsters can experience cardiovascular diseases, especially as they age.
However, berries have been linked to better heart health. According to The British Journal of Nutrition, blueberries may inhibit the creation of bad cholesterol, which is responsible for heart disease.
Polyphenols are a micronutrient containing antioxidants. Antioxidants can do the following:
- Prevent certain cancers.
- Reduce the negative effects of aging.
- Lessen the chance of other chronic illnesses.
The main antioxidant found in blueberries is anthocyanins. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, anthocyanins may be responsible for most blueberries’ health benefits.
Aside from boosting the immune system, vitamin C is responsible for the following:
- Absorbing iron.
- Maintaining cartilage, bones, and teeth.
- Forming collagen.
A cup of blueberries contains 14.4 mg of vitamin C.
Vitamin A is best known for keeping the eyes healthy; a cup of blueberries contains 79.9 IU.
This can optimize a hamster’s ability to see clearly and prevent it from losing its already near-sighted vision as it ages. Beyond that, vitamin A:
- Has antioxidant effects.
- Produces white blood cells, bolstering the immune system.
- Aids in bone health and development.
Can Pet Hamsters Eat Blueberries?
Certain hamster species, like Syrians, are more capable of handling the sugar content of fruit better since the larger their bodies, the more easily they can process it.
Even with bigger hamsters, it’s important not to overfeed them with blueberries. However, Syrian hamsters can naturally eat more blueberries because they’re the largest species.
Some owners avoid feeding fruit to dwarf hamsters.
This isn’t unfounded because the sugar content of different fruit can lead to obesity or metabolic issues. A dwarf hamster’s smaller body will be more easily overwhelmed.
That said, you can still feed fruits to a dwarf hamster if you monitor your pet’s portions.
Do Hamsters Like Blueberries?
Most hamsters enjoy blueberries for their taste, shape, and skin texture. As a bonus, this fruit has a high water content, making it tangy and refreshing.
If a hamster doesn’t appear to like blueberries, offer it small portions alongside other food.
How Many Blueberries Can A Hamster Eat?
For average-sized adult hamsters, feed them up to 1 teaspoon of blueberries per week. In adult Syrian hamsters, this means no more than 2-3 blueberries once a week.
For smaller species, like dwarf hamsters, give no more than 1-2 blueberries per week.
Can Baby Hamsters Eat Blueberries?
Juvenile hamsters can begin eating solid food in as little as 10 days. However, that doesn’t mean their digestive systems can handle fruits.
It’s unsafe for baby hamsters to eat blueberries or fruits. Juvenile hamsters may experience fewer issues but can still develop wet tail or other medical conditions.
How To Give Blueberries
Blueberries shouldn’t be taken out of their store-bought container and immediately placed in your hamster’s cage. There’s a risk of bacteria or pesticides affecting your hamster, even with organic tubs of blueberries. Here is how to correctly prepare them:
- Wash the blueberries well to remove all dirt and debris.
- Cut the blueberries into bite-sized pieces to minimize any choking risk.
- Remove any uneaten fruit within the day to avoid attracting bugs and bacteria.
If this is the first time you’ve given hamster blueberries, offer a small piece to see how it reacts.
Hamster Blueberry Treats
Blueberries are the perfect treat for encouraging a hamster to behave, play, or complete puzzles. While a normal, whole blueberry is okay, here are other blueberry treats you can try:
Blueberry juice sold in grocery stores should be avoided, as most brands have too much sugar, added preservatives, and dye.
Sugar-free blueberry juice is also unsafe, as it contains toxic sugar alternatives to hamsters. You can make blueberry juice by doing the following:
- Wash 1 cup of fresh blueberries in a vinegar bath for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse the blueberries and add them to a blender.
- Add 1 cup of water.
- Blend until the juice is smooth.
Muffins baked for humans are unsafe for hamsters since they contain too much sugar and unsafe ingredients. However, you can also make your blueberry muffins for hamsters:
- 1 egg white and ½ of the yolk
- ½ cup flour
- Fresh blueberries, chopped
- Nuts and seeds
To make the muffins:
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
- Add the egg, and mix
- Fill each muffin cup with 1 teaspoon of the mixture
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes
This will yield very small muffins. Give no more than 1 muffin per week as a treat.
You can give some blueberry jam to a hamster if you ensure it’s sugar-free, lacks artificial flavorings or sugar alternatives, and doesn’t contain citrus fruits.
Blueberry jam is safe in small quantities. Don’t give more than 1 scant tablespoon of blueberry jam to a hamster. Like the other options, it’s always better to make your own:
- Add 1 cup of blueberries to 1 tablespoon of water in a pot.
- Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
- Smash the berries with a spoon, and stir occasionally.
- Pour the mixture into a clean jar.
Blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits you can give hamsters, as they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Also, a hamster will love eating this tart and sweet treat. You can offer it as jam, juice, or hamster-safe muffins, but provide no more than 2 servings per week.